Washington DC: the parasite that killed the American host
Take me down to parasite city where the money’s green and staffers committee…
Yes, life is good in and around the District. Pay? Great. Layoffs? Not observed. Home prices? What’s this ‘bubble’ thing people keep talking about?
However (and sadly for those in the District), the truth is that what they do there fails to add value to the U.S. economy and Gene Healy’s column observes the same with a number of great lines:
True, if you venture outside the Death Star’s orbit to visit the colonies for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you’ll see a lot of boarded-up storefronts. You might even feel a twinge of shame when Matt Drudge feeds you headlines like “D.C. Leads List of Most Shopaholic Cities in America.”
Whatever: Guilt is for losers! The main lesson the rest of the country should take from the capital’s prosperity is, per [New York Times D.C. bureau chief David] Leonhardt, that “education matters.”
D.C.’s “high-skill” economy boasts more college degrees than any other major metropolitan area in America. “If you wanted to imagine what the economy might look like if the country were much better educated,” Leonhardt writes, “you can look at Washington.”
Hey, you people out there in flyover country: We’re eating your lunch because we’re “smarter” than you! Hit the books, rubes: We built this!
Even so, I found it a bit unsettling last fall to read that “Beltway Earnings Make U.S. Capital Richer Than Silicon Valley,” as the Bloomberg News headline put it. After all, Silicon Valley “creates” wealth, while we — smart as we are — mostly shuffle it around.
The We built this! line is fantastically ironic as the real truth is They took this!
We built this! is reminiscent of the high school band that thought the football game was staged in order to allow them to perform at half-time.
I’m sure of one thing: the nation’s capital region is overrepresented in bureaucracy, in law degrees, and even in security clearances. Has it always been this bad or is a Jimmy Carter-like crisis of confidence setting in?
Democracy’s goals have changed. Government is played as a game, not as a fiduciary responsibility to get things done. Running the country is not what political leaders mainly think about.
Posted on August 7, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged Crony Capitalism, Gene Healy, Government Intervention, Guns N Roses, Regulatory Capture, Rent Seeking, Washington DC. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.